News / Africa

Zimbabwe Party Leaders, Security Chiefs Sued by Former Detainees

Zimbabwean president Robert Mugabe, 17 Aug 2010 (file photo)
Zimbabwean president Robert Mugabe, 17 Aug 2010 (file photo)
Peta Thornycroft

Human-rights activist Jestina Mukoko and 17 others are suing some of Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe's closest colleagues for $22 million, claiming they were kidnapped, tortured and illegally detained in 2008.  

Zimbabwe human-rights activist Jestina Mukoko says she was abducted in her night clothes at dawn by a dozen security agents, shoved into an unmarked vehicle, and driven to a secret location.

At that time a group of 18 people - including a two-year-old boy picked up with his parents, Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) supporters, and some with no political connections - disappeared.  They all claim in papers before the High Court they were held in secret locations and physically and mentally abused.

Mukoko was abducted just 10 weeks after former opposition leader, now prime minister, Morgan Tsvangirai signed a political agreement that led to the unity government in February last year.

After an international outcry, Mukoko and other detainees were released to a hospital and she was charged with recruiting insurgents to overthrow Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe.

Last year, the Supreme Court ruled her arrest was illegal and ruled similarly for all the others now suing leaders and security chiefs of Mr. Mugabe's ZANU-PF Party.  The group of abductees is asking for $22 million in damages, charging the party officials are responsible for kidnapping and torture.

ZANU-PF Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa, former Security Minister Didymus Mutasa, Police Commissioner Augustine Chihuri, security chief Happyton Bonyongwe, senior prison officers, policemen and security agents are among those facing trial on September 13.

The suit is being seen by political analysts and lawyers in Harare as a significant legal and political moment in Zimbabwe's 30 years of independence.

At the time of her abduction, Mukoko was documenting ZANU-PF violence against Mr. Tsvangirai's supporters before the June 2008 presidential run-off.  A week before that poll Mr. Tsvangirai withdrew his candidacy after about 200 of his supporters were killed and hundreds injured by ZANU- PF militia.

The lawsuit will be heard by Judge George Chiweshe, who was chairman of the election authority that in 2008 delayed the presidential poll results for five weeks.

Mr. Mugabe recently appointed Chiweshe Judge President of the High Court without consultations with Prime Minister Tsvangirai, which Harare constitutional lawyer Derek Matyszak says was "illegal."

You May Like

China Investigates Former Powerful Security Chief

Former security chief and member of Politburo Standing Committee, Zhou Yongkang, under investigation for suspected 'serious disciplinary violation' More

India, US Look to Reset Ties During Kerry Visit

This week's talks will be first high level interaction between two countries since Prime Minister Narendra Modi took charge More

Video Young African Leadership Program Renamed to Honor Mandela

YALI program, launched by President Obama in 2010, aims to build skills in business, entrepreneurship, public management and civic leadership More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spati
X
Reasey Poch
July 28, 2014 7:18 PM
China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video ESA Spacecraft to Land on a Comet

After a long flight through deep space, a European Space Agency probe is finally approaching its target -- a comet millions of kilometers away from earth. Scientists say the mission may lead to some startling discoveries about the origins of the water on earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Africans Arrive in US for Leadership Program

President Barack Obama's Young African Leadership Initiative has brought hundreds of young Africans to the United States for a six-week program aimed at building their knowledge and skills in fields such as public administration and business. Out of the 50,000 young Africans who applied for the program, just one percent was accepted. VOA's Laurel Bowman caught up with some of those who made the cut and has this report.
Video

Video In Honduras, Amnesty Rumors Fuel US Migration Surges

False rumors in Central America are fueling the current surge of undocumented young people being apprehended at the U.S. border. The inaccurate claims suggest the U.S. will give amnesty to young migrants from the region. As VOA's Brian Padden reports from Honduras, these rumors trace back to President Obama's 2012 executive order to halt deportations for some young undocumented immigrants already living in the United States.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid